9 April 2017
How does it feel? How does it feel to win one of the monuments? It was not your favorite, I know. But it is Paris-Roubaix, so you should be grateful. It is one of the hardest races of the season. I don’t have to tell you that. The dust, the cobbles, the dirty French roads. It is the hell on earth and today you became one of the legends of the ‘Hell of the North’.
It was a nervous race. All eyes were on Tom Boonen and on you. After your second place in last week’s Tour of Flanders you became one of the favorites for the win today. You were patient. You waited for a chance to get away from the other favorites. With six other riders you entered the Carrefour de l’Arbre. Immediately you placed an attack and only Zdenek Stybar and Sebastian Langeveld were able to follow. The three of you stayed together until the Velodrome. Although Jasper Stuyven and Gianni Moscon returned in the last hundred metres, because you and the other two started to look at each other. None of them had a chance. Stybar took off for the final sprint, but you came after him with way more power in your legs. He knew that. The whole season, you are unbeatable in the sprints. Today was no difference.
They will never ask you again when you will win a big monument. The pressure is off. Although you will keep putting pressure on yourself, because the job is not done yet. Next year there is another Tour of Flanders to ride, another Paris-Roubaix. Now that you know how it feels to win a monument, I am sure you are eager enough to win more. And I am sure that those wins will come.
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